Friday, April 24, 2015

BEA Tips (Part Four): BEA Essentials


BEA is around the corner in no time and you might be wondering what to pack for the trip and also what should you have prepared before the first day of the expo.

If you missed part 1,  part 2 or part 3 of my BEA series, make sure to check the previous posts out.

Tip # 1: Comfortable shoes

No matter what shoes you pack, your feet are going to be aching. I am not joking. I wore a very comfy pair of flats and my feet were aching by the end of the day. Do not wear new shoes to BEA! Seriously, just don't do it. Make sure you bring shoes that you know are comfortable for long hours of walking. I also put insoles into my shoes which helps a lot! During the day, make sure you sit down once in awhile to rest your feet and to rest your arms and shoulders. 

Tip #2: A Sturdy all-around bag

I didn't bring a purse to BEA last year but I did bring a tote bag which carried my essentials such as a small pouch that acted as my wallet, a bottle of water, a gallon size Ziplock bag (containing business cards, a pen, highlighters, my schedule, a map of NYC), snacks, lip balm, phone and a portable charger. There is no need to bring a bunch of tote bags to the Exhibit Hall. Publishers will be handing out tote bags like it's no tomorrow but it is nice to have a tote to start with when the Exhibit Hall opens. The great thing about all the free tote bags is that you will find favorites which you will use everyday to haul your books. The big flat bottomed ones are my favorites. If they have pockets, even better.

Tip #3: Rolling luggage

In a previous post, I mentioned you can check in rolling luggage for $3.00 per luggage at specified bag check areas at the Javits. Rolling luggage is not permitted in the Exhibit Hall. When you have filled your tote bags with ARCs or if your shoulders are killing you from all the ARCs you are carrying, it's time to swap out those ARCs into your suitcase. Definitely make several ARC drops. Your shoulders will thank you. Keep bottles of water in your suitcase. When you make an ARC drop, swap ARCs for water. This will help alleviate excess weight on your shoulders throughout the day and you will still stay hydrated. You can also bring a refillable water bottle and refill the bottle at water fountains.

Tip #4: Schedule

Make a schedule prior to BEA. There is also a BEA Show Planner app you can use on your smartphone. However, mobile reception at the Javits can be spotty at times. I opt for a print out schedule. Last year I made a spreadsheet and color coded it with different signings, panels, galley drops, etc. There will be times where events overlap and you will need to prioritize. Another good tip is to be flexible with your schedule. Every day a Show Daily is released with information about the publishing industry and BEA. Sometimes there will be information about a signing or a galley drop that was not mentioned on the BEA website previously. I like to write in last minute events in the margins of my schedule. Also, publisher booths sometimes will have galley drop schedules which are super helpful. Not all ARCs have specified drop times. Some are random and it's one of those be at the right place at the right time kind of deal.

Tip #5: Portable battery

If you plan to attend BEA or any event at the Javits, you need one of these babies. The Javits will drain your battery dry if you don't have a portable battery to juice up your smartphone. If you plan to follow Twitter, text and/or call up your friends to meet up, a portable battery is a life saver.

Tip #6: Clothing layers

The weather at the end of May can vary. Sometimes it can be super hot but sometimes there is a nice breeze. However, the Javits is always cold with the AC blasting. I highly recommend bringing a cardigan or light jacket for wearing inside the Javits. You will be fine with short sleeves outside.

Tip #7: The 5-2-1 Rule 

I have been to several conventions and expos and this is the what I follow to be physically and mentally happy. I understand that there are a lot of things that you want to see and do but it is important to take care of yourself first.

The rule of thumb for the 5-2-1 is the following:

1. Get a minimum of 5 hours of sleep per day.
2. Eat at least 2 real meals per day.
3. Take at least 1 shower per day.

If you want to sleep more, eat more real meals and shower more than once a day, then do it! This is just a minimum framework to follow.

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